I’m posting in Book Addiction a little early this month because I’m joining in the release week blitz for this book. America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie just came out on March 1st. I’m very excited about this one, because I internet-know Stephanie and love her trilogy about Cleopatra’s daughter. Also, since I’m Canadian with a decided lack of knowledge of the specifics of early American history, there aren’t going to be historical spoilers for me! Often, I know when a historical figure is about to die, so if that happens this time, I will be completely shocked and heartbroken. I’m looking forward to the surprises, even if they are painful.
As you may have guessed from the title, this novel is about the daughter of America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson. Martha, known as Patsy, was Jefferson’s eldest daughter, and became one of the most influential women in American history. Not only the daughter of the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (and keeper of his secrets), Patsy also played a significant role in shaping the nation’s history.
I’m not well read on American history, as you’ve probably gathered by now, but I could still tell right away that I was going to enjoy this book. I’m halfway through it, and gently cursing my other commitments because I just want to curl up with a cup of tea and read forever.
America’s First Daughter has a whole bunch of things I love in a gripping read – a strong heroine with a story not yet well known, historical surprises, writing by one of my favourite authors, and rich, well-researched historical detail. The authors were able to draw upon thousands of letters and original sources to tell Patsy’s story. As a history buff, this excites and daunts me; I can only imagine all the hours that Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie spent reading and studying the letters, but it’s also such an amazing opportunity to have original sources. That’s my one complaint about my pirates – they did not write things down much.
From the book jacket:
In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.
From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.
It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.
Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father’s reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.
Check this one out if you’re looking for something new to read. After all, that’s the point of my Book Addiction category. I like to share books I’ve enjoyed recently in hopes that other readers will find them just as gripping.